Swansea Art Gallery selected for major Imperial War Museum project

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Fighter aircraft at the Imperial War Museum. Photo by jimbowen0306 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea is one of five cultural organizations across the UK named as lead co-commissioning partners by the Imperial War Museum.

The gallery will receive £250,000 to commission an artist for the museum’s 14-18 Now Legacy Fund.

The Hunterian in Glasgow, the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, Ulster University in Londonderry and the Leicester Museums are the other organizations taking part in the £2.5million scheme, which will see 22 ambitious artist commissions inspired by the legacy of the conflict.

With each location working with an artist, the joint commissions will be exhibited between 2023 and 2024 and will explore themes ranging from care work in conflict to the current refugee crisis.

peter jackson

The program was made possible after a portion of the royalties from Peter Jackson’s critically acclaimed film, They Shall Not Grow Old, was earmarked for investment in artists and artistic experiences.

2022 Turner Prize nominee Heather Phillipson will offer a vision of the sky inspired by the US government’s 2021 report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena for her commission from the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

At the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz will develop a new commission that sees anti-war activism as the foundation of a monument that can serve as a catalyst for healing, cultural exchange and kinship. .

The Hunterian will work with Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes on a new body of work. The project will see Wilkes reflect on issues of war, conflict and violence, encompassing both abstraction and social realism.

Additional commissions at two of the five Imperial War Museum sites in the UK will each receive £250,000. Details of the commissions will be announced later this year.

Alongside the Imperial War Museum’s five core partners and two commissions, 15 member organizations of the Imperial War Museum’s War and Conflict Specialist Network will receive smaller grants of £20,000.

Swansea University

Comprising universities, galleries, local authorities and social enterprises, eight have now been shortlisted, including Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln, Gateways to the First World War at the University of Kent, arts social enterprise and Heritage Our Big Picture, the Photography and the Archive Research Center at the London College of Communication, Visualizing War at the University of St Andrews and Swansea University.

Working alongside established and emerging artists, their commissions will explore conflicts from World War I to the present day.

The remaining seven places are now open to expressions of interest from interested cultural organisations.

Speaking about his participation in the program, Rakowitz said, “Over the past few years I have tried to make art that questions the intersections between empire, war and museums in a way that resonates locally and globally.

“My work, commissioned by the Baltic and Imperial War Museums, will invite viewers to reconsider the relationships between hospitality and hostility, provenance and expropriation, and confront the complicity of cultural institutions and audiences in geopolitical issues.”


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